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For Britney (or whoever).




throw him in the cellar, full grown. touch him, with a coy and rationing love among roots. nights spent stroking a mortal sin like a persian cat. the heart wants what it wants, is a godless baby monitor. ingénues eaten like eels, their cold stock becoming jelly. now is the winter of our hell-debut, our velveteen paedo in boudoir shock, our medicated sacrament. sleep to impress, simulate coma. be a briar rose, a fuckable brer rabbit. or be a shrewd pony. throw him to the floor. we chose pale hands and projects, the merlot of allotted suffering. listen: see by the light of a slight boy, skin like a catalogue onesie, peel his lingering peach from him. i won’t argue with you. with what big teeth, and forget about oz. this is the world. valerie, saint valerie, cephalophore, her voice inside a nightlight, listen: you’d better cut them up before they cut you down. sister insider, why are you crying? the crêpe de chine of a normative lullaby.


put it this way: lives can begin past ringlets, in a grownup speech, completely at pen with yourself. deep in a different dress. deep in the outline of an animal. recover the lost symmetry of seizure. become a hyena, a skin stitched from expiry. amplify your razorblade virginity. the martyr is also the murderess. wearing the night-vision goggles of absolute rage. tempestuous and hirsute, find him where he lives, in a final tomcat shroud, and show no mercy. flow into foxholes and bunkers in a gown of sour gasoline, in a skirt as sheer as your stride, in a seethrough stocking of napalm kirsch. you are made of moths, eat into him. a virus of light, you are the stuff of versace. leave him travestied and gutshot, straight to fucking video. don’t be afraid. you fit him like a shiv. these steel toe boots are a double permission. trample a vera wang carpet of roses. until he is inside you, and not in a fun way, thrashing and submerged.



i’m not going to tell you you are beautiful. no one is. get over it. the beauty is over. is there life after life after years of dickless wonders screaming through the winding sheets of unexceptional privilege? is there life after mad bitch and hatemail, risperidone side-effects? yes, and no. i mean yes, but it doesn’t look like you. stop trying. and know you were never more warrior. that feral girl saved you, refusing their puritan rooms, their sunday distinctions. getting well doesn’t mean going back. don’t be a pink plastic witness, a molested doll, a rose upstairs. don’t collect in their cameras like sand. like sighs. now you are the size of yourself, be the size of yourself. sane is a model prisoner. lovely is the blue weatherproof uniform they’ll leave you to die in. listen: be a hyena. the four of clubs is a witches’ card. you’ve no need now for their catwalks or closets, their nonchalant incest, their hoaxes and frauds. it’s a bad erotica, the opposite of stars. you know what it’s like to be naked: a swaggering nemesis, the rorschach stain of complete despair. when they don’t know what to do with you, you’ve won. your smile a teasing chemtrail, troubling the ozone, your marketable face.



there we were in mind-control-sized pieces. variant blondes, goosebumped décolleté and slouched. narcissists and gargoyles, the same obedient female as always. our outfit was nothing but nipples. our eyes do the dead-sea-saunter over stones, through sea-estates, undine undone, through chattering teeth, a recession of salt. discreet mermaids. dainty phantoms. how miserable a thing, ecstatic cage of fame. lady, make an asset of your faults. the body pushed to a corporeal exit. psychological vomit, self-help, candy and assault. let’s be real here: drown him. in swimteam tendrils, the comfortless suck. absorb him. take him in through the fine amphibious skin of celebrity. or live to see your meatiest fails become memes. palming a face with a fucking brick. drown him, them, then return to hyena, sweet tooth forsaking marzipan. a torn throat always. come, bring your fat thighs and sorely debauched animus. don’t strike a pose, strike a match. be the negative of lust. no one is looking, and you’ve been a ladder, frankly. we all have. consider the body: a rose garden, a traffic accident, a self-portrait in medical beige. screaming in garbled jurassic outbursts, pull the flowers from your mouth, rip your hair out at the root. change. god is dead, eaten by lions.

FRAN LOCK is the author of numerous pamphlets and nine poetry collections, most recently Hyena! Jackal! Dog! (Pamenar Press, 2021). Fran is an Associate Editor at Culture Matters where she selected and edited The Cry of the Poor: An Anthology of Radical Writing About Poverty (2021). She edits the ‘Soul Food’ column for Communist Review, and is a member of the new Editorial Advisory Board for the Journal of British and Irish Innovative Poetry. Assisting Hari Rajaledchumy, Fran recently completed work on Leaving, a translation into English of selected poems by the celebrated Sri Lankan Tamil poet Anar.  ‘For Britney (or whoever)’ features in White/Other which will be published by the 87 Press in 2022.

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